A five-member delegation representing Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico on the evening of April 29. They will travel to the island Vieques this morning to join in celebrations marking the cessation of U.S. Navy exercises on the island. Events planned by local organizers are set to begin "one minute past midnight" on April 30/May 1.
After decades of maintaining control of two-thirds of the small island of Vieques, which is home to over 9000 people, the U.S. military is leaving due in large part to the efforts of a broad-based coalition of environmentalists, local fishermen, union representatives, church leaders and others. The cry for the Navy's departure was intensified after a stray bomb killed a civilian guard in April, 1999. CPT has sent eight other delegations to Vieques since March 2000 in support of the local resistance community.
Members of CPT's April 29-May 5 delegation are Mark Becker (Madison, WI), Erin Kindy (Tiskilwa, IL), Robert Paterson-Watt (Kitchener, ON), H.A. Penner (Akron, PA) and Rich Williams (Great Neck, NY). The delegation is co-sponsored by the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America.